Saratoga Again Draws Over One Million Fans During Summer Meet
Saratoga Race Course's 40-day summer meet was a "very successful one" for NYRA, marking the fifth straight year the track has "drawn over a million fans," according to Tim Wilkin of the Albany TIMES UNION. Sunday's penultimate race day drew an announced crowd of 46,494 and a "record all-source handle was set," despite losing a full 11-race card on Saturday, July 20, and seven races on the July 24 card. NYRA this year "did some tinkering with the schedule," as the 40 days of racing -- which has "been the schedule for the last 10 years -- were spread over 53 days, starting on July 11 and ending on Labor Day." The move "brought eight weekends into the equation and two dark days for the first time." NYRA President & CEO Dave O'Rourke said that the schedule "will be the same for next summer: 40 days of racing and a five-day race week, but the off days could be tweaked." This summer, there was no racing on Mondays and Tuesdays. The track also had a "new look with the debut of the 1863 Club." There are "no major projects" planned for '20 (Albany TIMES UNION, 9/1).
IN THE NUMBERS: DAILY RACING FORM's David Grening noted Saratoga's all-source handle this summer was a record $705,343,949, "eclipsing the previous mark of $679,798,120" set in '17. It was also an increase of 7% from last year's all-sources handle of $659,083,459. Ontrack handle was $146,618,388, down 1.5% from last year’s figure of $148,826,388. Total attendance was 1,056,053, "down from last year’s figure of 1,124,149 and the lowest in five years." There was "one less day of racing this year." O’Rourke and the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce will "discuss whether to alter the dark days to Tuesday and Wednesday and return Monday as a racing day." That decision "will most likely be made based on feedback from the Saratoga business community." O’Rourke "does not seem keen on expanding the meet beyond 40 days" (DRF.com, 9/2).